Melissa West is an independent mover/choreographer/poet and activist based in Staten Island, NY. Originally a student of the Staten Island Ballet, Melissa holds dual degrees in Dance and English from Hunter College. She holds a Masters in Performance Studies from New York University. In 2012, she received the Premier Grant in Choreography and the Excellence in the Arts Award, both funded by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs through Staten Island Arts. Since 2008, her work has been presented throughout NYC at venues including the Atlantic Salt Factory, Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, The Living Theater, Triskelion Arts, Queens Museum, The Brick Theater, The Greenbelt Nature Center, and the Bowery Poetry Club. West has held residencies at the Curiosity Project/Staten Island Arts, Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, and the Greenbelt Conservancy. In 2014, she received the Edward and Sally Van Lier Fellowship. In 2014 she facilitated a roundtable forum, The Future of Dance on Staten Island, and was a speaker at the Dance/NYC Symposium 2015. She is a 2016 CUNY Dance Initiative artist in residence at the College of Staten Island.